Shenandoah District Connection
Wind of the Spirit,
What Does This Mean?
May 13, 2020
"Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you" (Psalm 102:1).
From the Desk of District Executive Minister John Jantzi
WIND OF THE SPIRIT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

This meditation is another in the series of reflections leading up to Pentecost Sunday. The theme is taken from Acts 2:12, where the question was asked, “what does this mean,” by those who observed the coming of the Holy Spirit. The coming reflections will include a variety of folk throughout the District.

Please note the links and resources below developed for the reopening of churches in a time of pandemic. The first document wrestles with the moral and practical challenges of opening church facilities, while protecting vulnerable members of our community. The second resource is Va. Governor Northam’s announcement from Fri., May 8, about reopening various venues. Note the guidelines go into effect this Fri., May 15. The third link accesses the ideas and references explored during the Zoom meetings last week with pastors. If you have any questions about these items, please contact Shenandoah District Executive Minister John Jantzi .
1) Northern Plains District Executive Tim-Button-Harrison provided this Guide to Faithful Discernment , which was produced by Presbyterians in Iowa.
2) State guidelines from Governor Northam’s press conference on Fri., May 8: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia/#856622
3) Ideas and links generated from two Zoom calls last week among District leaders and pastors: Resources for Congregational Reopening
Call to Worship
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Proverbs 3:13-18
Meditation
Different: In a Good Way

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).

“What is wrong with those people?” is the sentiment we see in those outside the early Christian community as they watched men and women experience the manifest presence of God. Acts 2:12 reveals that their initial response was actually the deeper question, “What does this mean?” Due to the fundamental link between meaning and causation, those who didn’t want to ponder the possible deeper issue decided that alcohol was the best explanation. If too much wine was the cause, they didn’t need to spend time asking what the behavior meant.

Human behavior under the power of God can be unusual to be sure (Sampson would be a good example), but it is also Christian behavior in times of crisis that should cause those around us to ask, “What does this mean?” The satirical website, The Babylon Bee, recently ran the headline “Ignorant Christian Not Constantly in Panic or Despair.” The insinuation being that living in our moment without panic and despair is now abnormal and misinformed behavior! What is wrong with these people?

Just as a late hard spring frost quickly reveals which plants are the hardiest, a crisis quickly reveals which sources of hope produces the most stability. Jesus didn’t say that you couldn’t build a house on the sand, just that it wouldn’t last in a disaster. When times are easy there are options. When we are smacked with reality, we must rest on deeper foundations. I’ve been encouraged to see the way that the church has calmly and thoughtfully engaged the issues of our day in a way that sets Christians apart as beacons of hope. Peter’s response to the crowd was “I’ll tell you what this means” and he goes on to highlight the faithfulness and greatness of God and his long term plans for our salvation. He then gives an invitation. Many in the crowd understood that what he was saying also had meaning for them. They were invited into the bigger reality of God’s plan.

Living with hope and confidence in God in these days doesn’t cause people to think that we are drunk. Perhaps they think we are naïve or ignorant, which leaves our task as Christians to live our lives in a way that suggest that our hope doesn’t come from knowing less, but from knowing more. We know who is in control, we know that death isn’t the worst thing that could happen to us, and we have real physical communities of support. We have good reasons for realistic peace in the present and hope for the future.

The goal isn’t to live with a satisfied smugness at the stability we have in Christ and in Christian community. The command is to offer invitations for others to participate. Let’s live our lives in such a way that people wonder what is wrong with us, in a good way, and may God grant us the ability to give meaningful invitations to those around us.
Benediction
Lord, help us to serve You well in our daily lives and to remember to pray for the victims of religious persecution, wherever it is occurring, to lift before You our leaders in government, in the community, and within the church. 
Enable us to walk humbly with those who are suffering, those who feel utterly alone in the world, those who struggle financially, those who are desperately ill. 
Father, remember all who are traumatized and hurting in some way and send Your wisdom, healing, and grace as a gentle rain upon them. Remind us to look for Your presence and gifts and to be patient as You answer these prayers. 
We acknowledge our need for Your intervention in the world in which we live. We affirm that Your everlasting truth found in the Holy Scriptures gives us hope, and with shouts of joy, we long to serve You with enthusiasm! AMEN.
Attributions
Today's Meditation
submitted by:
Nathan Rittenhouse
Pastoral Team, New Hope
Former member, District Discernment Team
Call to Worship submitted by:
John Jantzi
Shenandoah District Executive Minister
Benediction submitted by:
Brenda Sanford Diehl
Shenandoah District Director of Communications

Sources:
Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by  Biblica, Inc.®

Today's photo courtesy of Marty Barlow
If you have questions about the Daily Connection, contact:
Director of Communications
Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
Weyers Cave, Va. 24486
(540) 234-8555
www.shencob.org
(Graphics courtesy of pixabay.com, unless otherwise stated)